Sunday, 27 February 2005

Mark Joseph's 'Lady Lady' slips from the carts after just a single week, mostly due to the pathetic efforts of label 14th Floor Records to actually get the CDs to the shops. People have been queing to buy the single having heard it numerous times on radio, but there's none to be had.

Perhaps they'll make a better job of the second re-release of Mark's album 'Scream' which carries an extra track: a cover of 'Volcano' by Damien Rice.

Thursday, 24 February 2005

Perhaps, finally, something is going to be done about the exhorbitant prices the likes of HP, Epson, Canon, etc charge for inkjet printer cartridges. The ink costs more than vintage champagne and a couple of replacement carts can cost more than a new printer - that comes with a pair of carts! How can that even be legal?

A US woman is suing Hewlett Packard (HP), saying its printer ink cartridges are secretly programmed to expire on a certain date.

"'The smart chip is dually engineered to prematurely register ink depletion and to render a cartridge unusable through the use of a built-in expiration date that is not revealed to the consumer,' the suit said."

BBC NEWS | Technology | US woman sues over ink cartridges

Monday, 21 February 2005

Received three of the smallest energy efficient light bulbs I've ever seen today. These are of the 'spiral' type and at a mere 11w give out the equivalent of a normal tungsten 60w bulb. They are quite lightweight too, so one's gone in an Anglepoise, one in a bedside light and the last in the porch. They came from BuyLightsDirect which I'd never heard of but found via a Google search. I ordered a pack of three for a mere £9.99 including VAT and postage (I paid using my new PayPal account), which is way cheaper than anyone else (they've since changed the offer to six bulbs for £15). Nearly all our fittings are now equipped with energy efficient bulbs, and we've also just signed up to have our 18-year-old gas back boiler replaced by a 90% efficient condensing boiler.

Sunday, 20 February 2005

From TeleText I find that Mark Joseph's single 'Lady Lady' entered the singles chart today at number 36, so he's achieved his fourth top 40 single. Way to go, that man.

Smeg fridgeAs a dedicated Red Dwarf fan, I really must buy myself a Smeg fridge (when I've won the lottery of course - make sure you're sitting down when you read the price. "The Smeg FAB28VS is a classic 50s style refrigerator packed with 21st century cooling technology."

Saturday, 19 February 2005

Pretty sickened by Northampton's performance in their home game against Southend United today. Absurd decisions by the referee didn't help, but it was sheer naff defending that turned our 1-0 lead into a 1-2 defeat. All credit to Southend for keeping the pressure on and improving their game in the second half.

Thursday, 17 February 2005

T'Pol"Star Trek fans have taken out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times in an attempt to persuade TV executives not to scrap Star Trek: Enterprise." I thought this show had already been scrapped some months ago. Its not universally liked by fans, but I think its ok - T'Pol certainly makes it worth watching in my book.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Star Trek fans fight to save show

Shiny new CIA big cheese Porter Goss has made a statement on Iraq and terror:

"Insurgents could go on to build transnational cells ... Unrest in Iraq is providing Islamist militants with training and contacts which could be used in new attacks abroad ... the conflict had become a 'cause for extremists'". Yes, that makes sense to me - the militants are no doubt getting a lot of support, and simpathy from outside Iraq.

"It was only a matter of time ... before militant groups like the al-Qaeda network attempted to use weapons of mass destruction". Hang on a minute, now where did that come from? Exactly what WMDs are we talking about here? The ones that don't exist? Or is this just more propaganda to keep the US populace hiding under their beds, perpetuating the climate of fear that got Bush re-elected. Ooooh, scary.

The BBC report says Correspondents say the committee has decided to subject US foreign intelligence to new scrutiny in the hope of avoiding mistakes committed before the war on Iraq. Mistakes like invading a country to persue weapons that didn't exist, or to capture/disrupt terrorists that weren't there either?

It seems pretty obvious to me that the invasion of Iraq in no way made the region, or the world, a safer place and Porter Goss' testimony, somewhat indirectly, supports that sentiment.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | CIA links terror threat to Iraq

Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Prime Minister Tony BlairPrime Minister Tony Blair stopped off at the Open University today for an interview for Channel 5 News. He took some time to visit our new science building, and I had a word with him on the way there. He noticed I was using a rather old camera (a 6-year-old Kodak DC265) and I told him that it was steam-powered.

More photos here

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Lady Lady cover artNeighbour Mark Joseph could hardly wish for more exposure for his new single 'Lady Lady' which was released yesterday. Over the last two days its been played on the two most popular radio programs in the UK, those being Terry Wogan's morning slot and Drive Time (both Radio 2). Its about time Mark got a top 10 hit.

Saturday, 12 February 2005

Oxford vs Northampton; photo © Pete NortonTravelled to Oxford's Kassam Stadium today to see Northampton FC take a much-needed (if we want to stand any chance of promotion) win in pretty dire conditions. A first half, that can only be described as pants, gave way to what turned out to be quite an entertaining game, entertainment value having been added to considerably by the officiating, which can only be described as a joke. Whatever - we won 1-2 which moved us up a place in the League Two table.

My brain having only just recovered from the immense G-forces applied to it by Paul's driving, we then proceed to evening scoff at a very busy TGI Friday's in Northampton.

Friday, 11 February 2005

During the space race, NASA spent millions developing a pen that would work in zero gravity, so that it would write in any orientation. The Russians on the other hand used a pencil. The moral of the story is that technology isn't always the solution.

Photocopiers and identity theft
Apparently many large, industrial photocopiers these days contain hard disks to which the scan of your original is stored before being printed in essentially the same manner as a laser printer. This makes it easier to do back-to-back printing. But users of these machines are often forgetting to (or are unable to) wipe these disks before the machines are swapped out for a newer model. So, think twice before copying your bank or credit card statements when submitting your travel expenses.

"I have seen cases where machines have come in for reconditioning and gone out to a new customer without the hard disc being cleared. The new customer has been able to print out documents," said Trevor Joseph from Sharp.

Computer Weekly | Businesses warned of photocopier data risk

Thursday, 10 February 2005

"Ratings show how green cars are.
Cars will be rated via their CO2 emissions. A new scheme is being launched to tell drivers and car buyers how environmentally-friendly vehicles are."

Sorry, but no cars are "environmentally-friendly" - even electric cars use electricity produced from the burning of fossil fuels. This legislation is just more window dressing. These ratings need to be tied to severe financial penalties for those who drive the most polluting vehicles. In fact, I believe the government should go so far as to ban the sale of vehicles with unnecessarily large and polluting engines - they are simply unnecessary on our roads.

BBC NEWS | UK | Ratings show how green cars are

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Tuesday, and its time to head home again. Managed to fit in another walk in Bordighera in the morning. Still snow along the autostrada in France - none in Italy.

EasyJet pretty much on time, but the flight was extremely turbulent due to strong head winds - the aircraft was being thrown all over the place. I hate flying.

A mere £2.80 gets me a bus for the 15 miles from Luton to Leighton, but the journey takes nearly and hour and twenty minutes. A Taxi for the last mile or so is £4.00. The flights from Luton to Nice were £33 - how do they manage that?